Vineyard Diary-11/17/19

Our 2019 grape harvest drew to a close on September 27 with a final small Barbera pick, crowning what was an intense but ultimately successful harvest season at Shaker Ridge. Our total production of around 20 tons of fruit went to 3 commercial wineries, a couple soon-to-be commercial wineries, and numerous home winemakers. We had a number of challenges thrown at us during harvest, beginning with intermittent forklift malfunction at our first large-scale harvest (Primitivo) of the season, a pump failure on our well between harvests, weight scale breakdown immediately before a harvest for which it was particularly needed, and scheduling challenges with a commercial winery relative to labor availability. As usual, it all worked out, thanks to skilled service availability on short notice, neighbors generous with their time, some quick adjustments, and client flexibility and patience.

We were treated to four rain events between Sept 15 and Sept 30, providing several inches of rain, and both the frequency and volume were exceptional for us in the Sierra Foothills and seemed to portend a (welcome) wet fall. Unfortunately, October brought not a single drop of rain, nor has November through today, and there is still none in the forecast a week out. During this dry period, we experienced 3 planned power outages courtesy of PG&E which, beyond the obvious inconvenience, also meant no water, as no electricity generally = no water for those on wells. However, we are grateful that there have been no major local fires this season to date and that we were done with grape harvest before the power outages began. The dry sunny fall has meant that we continue to enjoy homegrown, vine-ripened tomatoes into late November, and it’s been a stellar year for olive and kiwifruit harvest.

We would like to thank our clients, as always, for their business and working with us through the busy harvest period. We were especially excited to offer “shares” of our Portugese varietal vineyard again this year, thank our Quinta clients for their patience on harvest day, and greatly look forward to the fine wines that we anticipate will result from their efforts. We have reason to think that the 2019 vintage will prove to be a strong one, but the proof will be in the pudding….and our clients’ cellars.